As chancellor I am unsurprisingly completely focused on growing the economy.
One of the ways I believe we should do this is by choosing the sectors in which we are going to become the biggest and the best in the world and doing all that we can to get them to continue to grow as fast as possible in the UK.
Digital tech is one of these and it is what I have been focusing on this week.
We do already have an excellent record in the area. Tech unicorns, which are digital companies valued by investors at more than one billion dollars, is something we already have lots of – more than France and Germany combined.
Our capital leads the charge, having recently been crowned the world’s most high-tech city. London has also achieved more tech investment than any other city in the world over the past decade – more than New York and San Francisco.
Of course this is also good for Surrey, where our (mostly) speedy broadband, strong connections to London and amazing countryside mean we have lots of local tech businesses too.
But while, of course, as chancellor I spend most of my time thinking about the economy, that is not the only reason we should be supporting our digital sector.
Technology has already helped us in numerous ways – whether helping us to live longer, healthier lives, supporting security services to keep us safe or, of course, enabling us to stay in touch with relatives or friends who live far away.
It provides endless opportunities for the future, too – not least by helping us tackle global issues such as climate change and pandemics.
That is why the prime minister and I are in full agreement that we need to cement our position as global leaders and do all we can to support the sector’s growth.
In March, you may remember, I worked with Rishi Sunak and the Bank of England to rescue Silicon Valley Bank UK, so I was proud that on Monday they were relaunched as HSBC Innovation Banking which will support tech businesses.
It was also great news that Andreesen Horowitz, who were early backers of Facebook and Twitter and are one of the world’s most successful tech investment firms, decided to open their first international office right here in the UK.
However, the progress of digital technology is of course not completely risk free, so the prime minister kicked off London Tech Week with a plan for AI regulation, including giving more funding to AI safety than any other country in the world.
This shows we are very well placed to host the first major international summer on AI this autumn which will be a way to get other countries to cooperate on regulations.
There is more to do in this rapidly-developing sector but as the world’s third-largest tech economy, I believe we are very much on the right track.
There is no reason the next Google or Microsoft would not be founded here in the UK – and who knows, maybe it’ll even be in South West Surrey…